Woodbridge Teacher Pleads Guilty To Groping 14-Year-Old Student

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NEW BRUNSWICK — A physical education teacher from Woodbridge pleaded guilty today to charges of groping a 14-year-old female student, Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan announced.

Matthew Smith, 27,  of the Avenel section of Woodbridge, pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact and endangering the welfare of the child, admitting he improperly touched the student in a vehicle sometime in June 2009, when the victim was 14 years old.

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Under a plea agreement reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Nicole Albert, the defendant faces a term of 364 days at the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick and a probationary term of five years.

He also must relinquish his teaching certificate and will be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.

Smith, who had been a physical education teacher at the Fords Middle School in Woodbridge, is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 4 by Superior Court Judge Frederick P. DeVesa at the Middlesex County Courthouse in New Brunswick.

Smith remains free on $75,000 bail pending sentencing.

He was arrested and charged on April 21 following an investigation by Detective Robert Ptaszynski of the Woodbridge Police Department and Investigator James Kelly of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office.

The investigation began after the child’s mother notified school authorities, who contacted police. The mother also contacted police.

Smith began as a student teacher at the middle school in the spring of 2008, and started as a full-time physical education teacher at the school in September 2008.


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